Dec '10/Jan '11


The path ahead: CMIC’s progress and plans for 2011

By Tom Hynes

The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) has been working tirelessly towards strengthening Canada’s role as a global leader in research and innovation. Governed by a 20-person board of directors made up of industry, government, academia, research organizations and industry associations, CMIC is ready for what promises to be their busiest year to date.

Six major initiatives are currently in the works in the areas of exploration, energy, mining, tailings, processing and “green” mining, all of which are at various stages of advancement. The Exploration Initiative has now progressed to the point where research proposals are ready to be defined. The priority for 2011 will be to move all of these initiatives substantially forward, at the best possible speed, to meet the expectations that member communities (corporate, government and research) have for CMIC’s research agenda. More specifically, the overall research program objective is to bring the Exploration Innovation Consortium to the implementation phase (i.e. research funding) and to bring all the other initiatives at least to the pre-implementation phase (i.e. with established champions, working groups, objectives and prioritized research topics defined).

Funding initiatives and programs

CMIC’s intent is, if possible, to have all research funding go exclusively towards implementing and managing research programs. Where other funding models take a percentage of research funding to cover organizational costs, CMIC prefers to have organizational costs covered by membership fees and contributions from key stakeholders. This will require the development of a larger membership base, but will also put more resources directly into the research projects it sponsors.

Initiatives in 2011: the breakdown

For its Exploration Initiative, CMIC plans to:

  • Establish and implement the organizational structure the Exploration Innovation Consortium will use to define research priorities, select research proposals, arrange industry funding support to secure matching external funding, and manage research deliverables and timelines.
  • Hire a research manager to oversee the research agenda.
  • Begin at least three research projects aligned with the goals of the Exploration Innovation Consortium.

For its other initiatives, CMIC intends to:

  • Appoint an industry champion to take the lead in driving each individual initiative.
  • Appoint a working group of representatives from CMIC industry member organizations to work with the champion to define the research agenda of the initiative.
  • Establish and implement the organizational structure for each initiative in order to define research priorities, select research proposals, arrange industry funding support to secure matching external funding, and manage research deliverables and timelines.
  • Ensure effective communication with interested stakeholders across the country.
  • Build partnerships with other organizations that have complementary interests in these areas.
  • Define the major areas of research needed to meet the future needs of the Canadian mining industry through consultations and national workshops.

Other areas of focus

In addition to its research initiatives, CMIC will develop the other themes highlighted in the Pan-Canadian Mining Research and Innovation Strategy. In early 2011, it will hold a workshop to define its two- to three-year implementation plan to increase the supply of graduates to meet industry needs. Throughout the year, CMIC will also continue to sustain a culture of innovation and collaboration in the mining research community, and continue to enrol new audiences and key decision- makers to support mining research and innovation.

To keep its members up to speed on its activities, CMIC issued its first electronic newsletter in July 2010. These newsletters will be published eight to nine times per year and will supplement InnovaMine, a hard copy newsletter published approximately twice per year. CMIC will also be launching its new website in the first half of 2011.

Securing growth

The progress CMIC has made since its inception was made possible by its strong and committed membership base. Members have been proactive and engaged, and have fostered the collegiality and cooperation that is a necessary part of moving CMIC plans forward. Membership has increased substantially this year, especially in recent months.

CMIC is targeting continued membership growth in 2011. In particular, it foresees major expansion in exploration company membership, as the first exploration research projects are implemented and as the rest of industry becomes aware of the work that is being done to secure and maintain Canada’s position as a leader in research and innovation.

If you would like to receive the CMIC newsletter, please contact Michel Plouffe at

Tom Hynes
Tom Hynes has worked in the uranium and base metals industries, and has been a provincial regulator and a federal government research manager. He is the executive director of the Canada Mining Innovation Council.

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